President Donald Trump expanded the Mexico City Policy last week to include all foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The Reagan-era rule that bans U.S. funding for groups that perform or promote abortion previously applied only to family planning groups such as International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Marie Stopes International. About $8.8 billion in U.S. funds will fall under the expanded rule, called “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance,” according to a senior Trump administration official.
Unlike the Mexico City Policy, which Trump re-instated in January, the new rule will cover health programs for HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, and malaria treatment, in addition to family planning and reproductive health. C-Fam’s Lisa Correnti told me the policy change was necessary to cut U.S. funding for all international abortion, since abortion giants such as IPPF and Marie Stopes International are no longer the only groups providing abortion around the world: “It’s been institutionalized, so it’s coming through many different agencies and departments. That is the reason why it had to be extended across all global health.”
Pro-life leaders praised the new rule.
“Contrary to what the abortion giants and their pro-abortion liberal friends are saying, this expanded Mexico City Policy will be welcomed across Africa,” said Obianuju Ekeocha, president of Culture of Life Africa.
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., also hailed the change, noting the policy doesn’t cut one penny from global health assistance funds: “This humane policy seeks to respect and protect the precious lives of unborn girls and boys from the violence of abortion.”
Under the new rule, foreign NGOs will be allowed to receive funds if they promise not to perform or promote abortion, and the rest of the funds will be redirected. Correnti predicted the government will have no trouble finding new grant recipients: “There are many, many faith-based organizations that do work on the ground in these developing countries that can deliver these services and comply and not be using their own money to promote abortion or perform abortions.”
In the past, some organizations may have been overlooked for aid grants since they don’t provide “a full range of services,” but under the new rule, Correnti said more organizations delivering holistic care would be eligible: “We maintain that the healthcare delivery will actually improve.”
The new rule exempts U.S. assistance to national or local governments, public international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank, and any U.S. humanitarian aid, such as the State Department’s refugee assistance program, USAID disaster relief, and U.S. Department of Defense relief.
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Publication date: May 26, 2017